Earned media (or free media) refers to publicity gained through promotional efforts other than paid media advertising, which refers to publicity gained through advertising, or owned media, which refers to branding.
There are many types of media available to online marketers and fit into the broad categories: owned, paid, and earned media.
Owned media is defined as communication channels that are within one's control, such as websites, blogs, or email. Paid media refers mostly to traditional advertising.
Earned media cannot be bought or owned; it can only be gained organically, when content receives recognition and a following through communication channels such as social media and word of mouth. Earned media often refers specifically to publicity gained through editorial influence of various kinds. The media may include any mass media outlets, such as newspaper, television, radio, and the Internet, and may include a variety of formats, such as news articles or shows, letters to the editor, editorials, and polls on television and the Internet.
Many consider earned media to be the most cost effective method of marketing. As a result, many companies are investing in earned media. The increased use of earned media is converging traditional owned and paid methods of marketing.
|Type||Definition||Offline Examples||Online Examples|
|Paid||Media activity related to a company or brand that is generated by the company or its agents||
|Owned||Media activity related to a company or brand that is generated by the company or its agents in channels it controls||
|Earned||Media activity related to a company or brand that is not directly generated by the company or its agents but rather by other entities such as customers or journalists||
The increasing use of earned media has provided marketers with new ways in which to interact and engage their customers. These innovative approaches are replacing traditional marketing methods such as email and banner ads, and provide innovative methods to find, optimize, and measure return on earned media investments.
A Nielsen study in 2013 found that earned media (also described in the report as word-of-mouth) is the most trusted source of information in all countries it surveyed worldwide. It also found that earned media is the channel most likely to stimulate the consumer to action. Other authorities make the distinction between online and offline earned media/word-of-mouth, and have shown that offline word-of-mouth has been found to be more effective than online word-of-mouth.
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